Article Date: 8/1/2011

Glaucoma and Your Practice

Glaucoma and Your Practice

Why glaucoma care is important, even for patients who don't have glaucoma.

From The Editorial Director
Jim Thomas

Like most publications, Optometric Management tends to separate its editorial themes into distinct categories. Some of the more popular categories are practice management, medical care, refraction and vision, equipment and technology.

We also subdivide these categories. For example, under medical care we include inflammation, infection and therapies, as well as retina, the ocular surface and glaucoma. Glaucoma is the theme of this month's issue.

Another division

Of course, there are many facets to glaucoma, and these add subcategories to the subcategories. In this issue of OM, for example, we present glaucoma from several perspectives: intraocular pressure (IOP) as a risk factor (see “Pressure Points,” in this issue), optic nerve evaluation (“More Than Just a Number,” in this issue) and the management of glaucoma suspects (“Sussing out Suspects,” in this issue).

At this point, we've diverted far from the other subjects covered in OM. And as an optometrist with a keen interest in practice management, glaucoma research may not land on the top of your reading pile. Yet many of these studies shed new light on patient management. For instance, in his article on IOP, Deepak Gupta, O.D., cites recent studies suggesting that IOP fluctuation throughout the day, even within ranges that are considered normal, may be a significant risk factor for glaucoma. Ultimately, this research may lead you to change procedures to improve patient care.

Research and practice

Can we also make a connection between research and practice management? Or, put another way, can an interest in glaucoma research lead you to prescribe more glasses? Based anecdotes I've heard from both doctors and patients, the answer is “yes.”

For example: Several years ago, one of my neighbors visited an optometrist who came “highly recommended.” The O.D. recommended the neighbor stop using her IOP-lowering medication, prescribed by her former doctor. The reason: Due to the thickness of her corneas, her IOP appeared higher than it actually was.

The recommendation, patient education and subsequent level of care impressed my neighbor so much that she referred family, friends and neighbors to the practice. Though none of them have glaucoma, they now visit the “new eye doctor.” Now, couldn't we also say that without a thorough understanding of glaucoma, the doctor could not have built his base of patients, even among those who do not suffer from glaucoma? OM

Optometric Management, Issue: August 2011